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Diabetes Care Team and BuCor Inmates Diabetes Association (BIDA) are the winners of the 2012 Global Diabetes Walk Award



The 14th gang united them against diabetes


“They always emphasised that we are at war with diabetes and not against each other; that we should unite to fight against the dreaded complications of disease,” says diabetes nurse Hasmin P. Sescar about the inmates in the National Penitentiary of the Philippines. She, the Diabetes Care Team and BuCor Inmates Diabetes Association (BIDA) are the winners of the 2012 Global Diabetes Walk award in category 1 for best awareness and advocacy campaign.


Entering a closed universe behind prison walls we find 13,000 inmates organised in 13 gangs. Although the same set of rules applies to all inmates and gangs, fights and misunderstandings are also the reality of life in prison. “We made it known to our inmate patients that even though they belong to a certain gang, when it comes to diabetes and diabetes management, there is another and only one gang to belong to: BIDA (Bucor Inmates Diabetes Association) headed by Diabetes Care Team,” Ms Sescar explains.” The BIDA gang became the 14th gang in which the inmates could unite to fight diabetes and its complications. The crowd of 1,000 inmates who joined the recent walk was a clear evidence of success by uniting gangs to fight one enemy named diabetes.”


Walks since 2008

The Diabetes Care Team and BIDA were organised in 2006. Two years later the group joined the Global Diabetes Walk campaign. “We started with a parade, a walk inside the maximum security compound of Bureau of Corrections, and proceeded with a short program,” explains Ms Sescar. “Back then, only few inmates were interested in joining our walk, but over the years we have improved and registered our yearly celebration under the Global Diabetes Walk campaign.
“We believe that even though we are confined within the walls of prisons this should not hinder our desire to spread awareness about diabetes. The overwhelming crowd of 1,000 inmates who joined the 2012 Walk served to underline that we were right in following our belief.”


The WDF jury found…
Among some very strong campaigns submitted for this year’s GDW award, the jury found that the Walk organised by the Diabetes Care Team and BIDA stood out above the rest as being original in a very difficult context: “Mobilising 1,000 inmates and uniting 14 gangs to lift the blue circle is a beautiful way of carrying the global message of uniting for diabetes. The nurses and organisations behind this campaign show an example worth replicating throughout the world and they deserve our sincere appreciation,” says jury member, Prof Pierre Lefèbvre who is also Chairman of the WDF Board of Directors.

“By awarding the Diabetes Care Team & Bucor Inmates Diabetes Association the 2012 GDW Award for category 1, WDF wants to reiterate its commitment to human rights and effort to reach out to those most marginalised and neglected,” says the other jury member Ms Ida Nicolaisen, a recognised anthropologist and member of the WDF Board of Directors.


Diabetes in prison
Out of 13,000 inmates, 1,000 are currently diagnosed with diabetes. Risk factors such as stress, cigarette smoking, improper nutrition and other inappropriate lifestyle while in prison predispose inmates to diabetes. Based on this, the Diabetes Care Team projects that the number of diabetes patients will rise to 4,000 in the coming years. Several patients have developed diabetes inside prison, but most of the diagnosed patients were already pre-diabetic or diabetic upon entering prison.


The inmates’ access to diabetes care is poor as far as concerns medication. Each inmate is allotted 3 Philippine Peso (less than 1 dollar) per head per day which is very little to sustain the patients’ need of medicines. That is why the Diabetes Care Team and BIDA do every effort to find a way to sustain the medicines and other devices/equipment needed in diabetes management.


What next?
Having organised the 2012 campaign for less than 100 USD the GDW award grant of 7,500 USD draws some new perspectives for next year. 
“We have several ideas in mind, such as a Bureau wide Global Diabetes Walk celebration,” says Ms Sescar. “We intend to go to different prisons and penal farms all over the Philippines to deliver to them the needed education and widen the sense of being empowered. More importantly, I believe that this award and recognition would inspire others to concentrate on their health care system. I hope this would also compel other government and non-government organisations to extend support to the most oppressed part of the society, the prisoners.”


The Diabetes Care Team and the Bucor Inmates Diabetes Association collaborated with these organisations to set up the 2012 Walk event:
Association of Diabetes Nurse Educators of the Philippines (ADNEP)
Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators (PADE)
Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation Incorporated (ISDFI)
Consortium of Government Diabetes Clinics (CGDC)


According to the latest diabetes estimates from IDF, the diabetes comparative prevalence in the Philippines is 9,65% The Diabetes Care Team consists of a multidisciplinary health care team, and the BIDA consists of inmate officers, inmate lay educators, and regular inmate patients with diabetes.